Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The personal responsibility factor in protesting

As I was reading the news this morning, this caught my eye from WTOL:

Fifteen immigrant women who missed work to attend an immigrant rights rally last month have been fired.

The general manager of a Detroit meat packing company says the women were warned they would lose their jobs if they skipped work on March 27th.

The workers say they received no such warning.

I then remembered hearing about this

ENNIS, Texas — As many as 130 students were barred from Ennis High School's senior prom on Saturday evening for taking part in immigration protests earlier in the week, school officials said.

Students at Ennis High School, Ennis Junior High and the Sixth Grade Center were suspended Friday, a day after they marched to protest federal immigration proposals that call for a crackdown on illegal immigrants.

Many students were upset that the suspensions, which end Monday, would preclude them from attending the prom.

The students were warned that they would be suspended if they participated in any protests, school officials said.

This one particular statement that is being repeated by many is what made me decide to write about this:

"We got suspended, and we're not allowed to go to prom for standing up for something that we believe is right,"

Where is the personal responsibility in all of this? No matter how you feel about the immigration issue this has come up in the past as far as protests and most likely will in the future. If you knowingly violate school or workplace rules, chances are you are going to face consequences.

You have alternatives, if you are a student they could have easily arranged to have their own protest/demonstration after school hours. If you are a worker who cannot arrange to take the day off the same thing applies,

Or you deal with the consequences of your decision proudly, if it was that important to you to protest and you missed the prom or you were fired if you were truly warned, which in the case of the students we do know did happen, it almost makes it appear that the cause you felt was important enough to leave school over obviously wasn't important enough if there was a real personal sacrifice.

If it turns out the workers were not warned and that this is a punative action that would not have happened to a worker missing a day for another reason then they should be re-instated and be subject to whatever the normal process for missing a day of work would be. If they were warned?

Sometimes standing up for what you believe in comes at a personal price.